Words: Alastair James; pictures: Pexels
The head of the Football Association in England, Mark Bullingham, has sought to reassure LGBTQ fans that they will be welcome in Qatar for next year’s FIFA World Cup.
Much has been made of the tournament taking place in the Middle-Eastern country, where homosexuality is illegal and punishable with up to three years in prison, or death under Sharia law.
But Bullingham says he’s had assurances from the country that all fans will be welcome when the World Cup takes place from 21 November to 18 December 2022.
"Everybody is welcome"
In a press conference, as reported by The Independent, Bullingham said: "We have been given those assurances that people from the LGBTQ communities will be allowed to go to Qatar and support the team."
Asked if that meant homosexuality would effectively be legal for a short period, he said the FA had been given an "unequivocal answer that absolutely everybody is welcome".
Bullingham, who holds a position on UEFA’s human rights working group also said conditions for workers were improving and the championship was a chance to improve things further.
The Guardian reports 6,500 migrant workers have died in the construction of the tournament venues. That figure is thought to be a conservative estimate.
The former England footballer, David Beckham, has come under fire for signing a deal reportedly worth £150 million to promote Qatar’s tourism and culture. LGBTQ activist Peter Tatchell asked Beckham to "think again" over the deal.
However, the footballer was seen in Qatar’s capital, Doha, over the weekend during the Formula One Grand Prix suggesting he was going ahead with the deal.
But Beckham’s friend and winner of the Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton, has called out Qatar’s human rights abuses and was seen wearing a Pride Progress designed helmet over the weekend in a show of solidarity with the LGBTQ community.
We stand together. pic.twitter.com/F3hKZwVLyN— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) November 19, 2021
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